The newly opened Gallery Libby Sellers proves quietly successful in its combination of blonde-wood parquet floor and unobtrusive white walls. For the London Design Festival the gallery hosted two installations, spelling the end to its pop-up days.
Out front, Eindhoven-based Formafantasma showed the much praised Moulding Tradition series, part of their graduation project from Design Academy Einhoven in 2009. Formafantasma's founders, Andrea Trimarchi and Simone Farresin are both Italian and the pieces on display in this exhibition investigate the relationship between Italy and the African continent.
Moulding Tradition is a collection of ceramic vessels adorned with ribbons, portraits and disc shaped appendages. Devised as a response to Sicily's continuing disquiet over North African immigration, they support a heavy indexical and symbolic weight. Initially decorative, once you take a closer look, these appendages reveal uncomfortable information and questions about cross flows of literal and cultural imperialism over the history of these two territories' troubled relationship.
To continue this debate the duo is also showing the more recent work Colony, commissioned by Gallery Libby Sellers and produced by the Audax Textielmuseum in Tilburg, the Netherlands. It is a series of rugs or blankets in mohair and mixed media that reference the major colonial projects of Italy's Imperial past and the status of the dialogue that continues between former ruler and ex-subject state.
At the back of the gallery, in a room top-lit by an attractive skylight, the Gallery Libby Sellers invites specially selected guests to "pop up". For the duration of the London Design Festival, Brussels-based jewellery gallery Caroline Van Hoek showed Woods. Here a series of jewellery artists had used wood to create startling and incongruous contemporary craft artefacts that could be worn or simply just displayed as art pieces.